Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

Miss Me?

So, I missed a few days on my blogging challenge. Thursday was a horrible day, Friday was awesome but crazy, and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were just needed for mental recovery from those two days. At some point I may go back and grab those posts, but for right now I’m just carrying on.

This blogging challenge has made me discover some things about myself. One is that I lack discipline sometimes. This is nothing ground breaking,but I had hoped I was doing better in the self-discipline area. The second discovery was how easily I get discouraged. In my mind, I missed Thursday’s post and almost gave up the whole project. Then I missed Friday and thought “there’s no way I’m ever catching up.” It wasn’t until today that it dawned on my little mind that I could just start fresh. I don’t need to make things up, I just need to finish to the best of my abilities. And so, that’s what I am going to do!

So, let’s go through a recap of the past few days.

Thursday: Let’s focus on the good first. Dad brought me lovely Valentine’s Day flowers, Mum got me a *huge* cookie from our school’s V-day cookie sale, and the brother got me ice cream! Sounds like an awesome day, right? Well, we should also add in the fact that I had a splitting migraine all day, my lovely little car ran completely out of oil and subsequently required $1100 of repairs, the rental car I borrowed was bare bones and made me a little nervous seeing as how I was driving around alone that night, rehearsal for drama ran very long, and despite having a performance the next day we were told that we couldn’t set up our stage before 10 am the next morning. Oh yeah…and after all that, I drove home, ready to sit down with a movie and the playlist for the performances…to discover that I left my garage door opener in the other car and no one was home to let me in.

*sigh*

Friday: This was an awesome day, made even awesomer  (yes, that is now a word) by how horrible the day before was. Because I really want to do a post just on Friday, I won’t go into it right now. But yes, this was a good day. A LONG day, but a good day.

Saturday: Sleep, work, sleep. Enough said!

Sunday: Sleep, church, work, sleep. Welcome to the scintillating pattern of my day-to-day life.

Monday: Monday was another pretty cool day. I was a little on the nervous side because I was up for my one year review as a Shift Supervisor. Unbeknownst to me, my SM also made time to go over my Partner Development Plan (PDP) with me and help me create a new PDP as I wait to start interviewing for my next position. I’ve had a rougher time personally these past six months than I have experienced in the past, so I wasn’t sure how things were going to go. Thankfully, my SM has really noticed all the hard work, time, and dedication I’ve been pouring out and she really commended me on it. It’s always nice to know that someone *is* seeing the good that you are doing.

We also got a chance to have a good, long talk about things going on in the district and with the company. The last thing I want to do is go blindly blundering into a position if I don’t feel like I’ll be able to support the direction that things are heading. While some events looming on the horizon make me very sad, overall I feel like things for the future are bright. All we can do is wait and see, but in the meantime we are working on plans to push our store’s potential to the max! Go team, go!

That’s where I’ve been for the past few days! What have you all been doing?

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Children and Cards

Gentle Readers,

Today I made Valentine’s Day cards with the preschool Sunday School class. We had all the fun stuff: pink and red paper, multi sized hearts, flower foam stickers, glue sticks, markers, crayons, and scissors. (For the record, I kept a hold of the scissors.)

They are sweet children. Two girls, two boys, all as different as can be. The sugar rush must have started early this year, because they were WIRED today. So wired. But I digress.

There’s really not much point to this post. Only, as I watched these children put all their scattered attention towards making something sweet for their parents, I found it touching. They are young. They have energy galore. They want to explore everything. Yet, in the midst of all their life discoveries, they were genuinely excited to make something all their own for their Moms and Dads.

This is what love looks like.

Until tomorrow,

Miss W

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Boom!

Last night our family headed out to catch the tail end of an outdoor concert, and hoped to see the fireworks.

Well, boy did we luck out! Our car was less than 200 yards from the display, and we had a great view. Awesome view. Clear view. Perfect!

Happy 4th, be safe!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daZlMhijGnk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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New Life

Sometimes it’s really funny how thoughts come together. This Easter season, I’ve been thinking a lot about the significance of new life. Not so much in terms of babies and fresh starts, but in terms of transformation.

You see, about a week ago I found this necklace I’d made and completely forgotten about. It’s a little out of the norm of what I usually wear, but I love it all the same.

Butterflies are often used in Christian circles as a visual representation of the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Butterflies aren’t born, they are made, transformed from awkward earthbound caterpillars to glorious insects able to take flight. The process which turns them from crawling to flying isn’t easy, safe, or effortless. However, the end result is worth all the pain and effort.

Today my pastor preached on the resurrection, and how important it is to the Christian faith to believe that the resurrection really took place. While listening, it dawned on me that in a way, Jesus went through a transformation as well. He started Passion Week as the sacrificial lamb, the One who would take away the sins of the world. It was an important role, vital for the plan of salvation. After His death though, there had to be a transformation.

For Christ to just die for our sins would simply have made atonement for the sins that had come before that moment. His death, therefore, would have been just like the death of any other sacrifice. But something was different about this sacrifice. THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB ROSE FROM THE DEAD. 

Christ rose. He conquered the hold that death had on humanity, He made it possible for all people to access the grace and forgiveness found in the shedding of His blood. He made it possible for us to transform our lives.

So, this Easter, rejoice in His power, love, grace, and mercy…they are for you, from Him. Happy Easter.

50I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:50-58, ESV

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Green Day

Things To Do On March 17th:

– Have a beer. Or an O’Doul’s. Or pretend to have a beer.

– Kiss someone Irish. If you’re Irish, con someone into kissing you.

– Wear green! If you are REALLY Protestant, feel free to wear orange.

– Add o’ to the beginning of all your words. O’just o’like o’this.

– Use begosh and begorrah a lot, either seriously or ironically.

– Dye your hair red and get a tight perm (this is for the hardcore celebrators!).

– Watch Riverdance.

– Go buy the new Chieftains 50th Anniversary album and enjoy it!

 

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Romance Or Something Like It

It’s rare that my classes fall on a holiday, so I was so excited last night when I realized that not only was my British Literature class meeting on Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t have to report for jury duty!!! This meant I was free to deviate from our study on the Romantics (which aren’t as romantic as the title would have you believe…but that’s a post for another time) and give the kids a whirlwind tour of how England’s famous writers created the Hallmark company. Erm, excuse me. I meant to say “Valentine’s Day.” Same diff?

So, we all have the basic idea that Valentine was some sort of martyr/saint/good guy, right? What you may not know is that there are actually *three* Valentines in the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia (yes, there is such a thing): one from Rome, one from Terni, and one from Africa. Their lives had nothing at all to do with love, romance, poetry, or hearts (except for the fact that theirs stopped beating because of their faith in God and their dedication to the gospel). In fact, there’s absolutely no reason why Chaucer, while writing a poem to commemorate the engagement of Richard II, would reference Valentine…but he did so.

It’s actually a lovely little poem called The Parliament of Fowls that I enjoy reading very much. It’s also 5 hundred million or so lines long, so I’ll just post some pertinent stanzas.

For this was on Saint Valentine’s day,

When every fowl comes there his mate to take,

Of every species that men know, I say,

And then so huge a crowd did they make,

That earth and sea, and tree, and every lake

Was so full, that there was scarcely space

For me to stand, so full was all the place.

Saint Valentine, who art full high aloft –

Thus sing the small fowls for your sake –

Now welcome summer, with your sun soft,

That this winter’s weather does off-shake.

 

Well have they cause to rejoice full oft,

Since each a marriage with its mate does make;

Full joyous may they sing when they wake;

Now welcome summer, with your sun soft,

That this wintry weather does off-shake,

And the long nights’ black away does take.’

 

And with the cries, when their song was done,

That the fowls made as they flew away,

I woke, and other books to read upon

I then took up, and still I read always;

I hope in truth to read something someday

Such that I dream what brings me better fare,

And thus my time from reading I’ll not spare.

The rest of the poem is a bunch of birds talking to each other about love and classic pairs of lovers. As one of my students said, it’s like Narnia. If you have the time, Norton has a lovely rendition online in the Middle English. Delightful!

The next major writer to start a Valentine’s tradition is Edmund Spenser, writer of The Faerie Queen. Do you know what he started? Here’s a quote to give you a hint:

She bath’d with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

Did you figure it out? Oh yes, the much maligned “roses are red, violets are blue” verse! I’m as big a fan of plays on this as the next person, so it made me laugh when the lovey Ponderiss shared “Roses are red, violets are blueish. If it weren’t for Christmas, we’d all be Jewish.” I laughed for a good 5 minutes over that one.

Shakespeare? He didn’t neglect the fad either. In his famous Ophelia scenes (where she runs in and out of court singing songs, throwing around flowers, and generally running mad), she sings a Valentine’s Day song!

To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.

England continued on in this same vein for the next several hundred years, making them one of the most dedicated countries when it comes to this holiday. Did you know that in the 1700’s they even had Valentine factories??? Whole factories that churned out nothing but ornate, flowery Valentines. It’s a pretty cool idea.

So, there you have it! A whirlwind tour through the beginnings of Valentine’s Day! What did you do to celebrate this year?

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Traditions

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Well, now that we’ve that out of the way, I thought I’d share some of our Christmas traditions. The first thing that we love to do is go see The Nutcracker. It’s beautiful music, a fun story, and just a really great time overall. This year and last year we went to see the ballet in The Land Of No Internet, in a beautifully historic theatre. Isn’t it pretty?

 

 

 

See? It’s a lovely setting for the whole experience.

We also usually attend a Christmas Eve service. The past few years we’ve gone to the service at a Lutheran church, which is different than what I’m used to, but nice nonetheless. It’s even better if the service includes candles!

Cookies are a favourite too. 7 layer bars, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Whippersnappers, Rolo Cookies, and of course Mum’s world-famous chocolate chip cookies! Mum and Dad also each have a party mix they make; Mum makes a white chocolate one, and Dad makes a savoury one.

Usually we spend some time driving around looking at the crazy Christmas lights people put up on their houses. You know, like the stuff I posted last year. Our town has whole streets that try to outdo each other in the light departments, which makes it fun for us.

So, those are just a few of ours. Do you have traditions? Feel free to share them in the comments, and have a very merry Christmas!

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A Thanksgiving Memory

Challenge: In class, we had to write a Thanksgiving memory in 2 minutes, highlighting the use of one sense.

It is not the bright sun that wakes me up early in the morning on Thanksgiving – no, it is the seductive scent of freshly roasting turkey which drifts up the stairs and gets me stirring. In the kitchen, I can hear my father at work, puttering around, opening the oven to baste the bird and letting loose more aromatics. Going into the kitchen, the smell of turkey mixes with the lemon scent of the sink, all freshly scrubbed and waiting for the onslaught of cooking. The stovetop pan bubbles with a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and apple juice, making a welcoming cider for the impending guests.

Your turn! In the comments, why don’t you share a quick Thanksgiving memory with us? I’d love to read it!

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You’re A Firework

I can’t believe I’m going to post this video. But…but…it HAS TO BE DONE! There’s no way I can let such a perfect pairing of Music Monday and Independence Day slip by unnoticed.

To make up for the inanity of the song, why don’t we take a few minutes to reflect on what some of the Founding Fathers said about this awesome nation?

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”

-John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

– Usually attributed to James Madison. Great quote though, no matter who said it.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

– Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

Want to read some more cool quotes about America? There are some great ones here.

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Memories

It’s interesting just how many memories one picture can bring to mind. This photo reminds me of my dad. It’s part of his childhood backyard…and though I don’t always enjoy physically being there, I do love the memories.

This picture reminds me of the times Dad and I wandered around the woods, looking at different trees, examining fauna, and finding the tree he carved his initials in so many years ago. See that old bird feeder? That used to be the first thing I’d beg Dad to do: help me get out the MASSIVE bag of birdseed and set it out fresh. It always takes the birds a few days to find the seeds, so minutes are of the essence.

We would watch squirrels too; watch them try to climb in the feeder, watch them fly from branch to branch, watch them chase each other for hours. Always, always entertaining.

So, thanks Dad for all the memories…here, there, and everywhere. Love you!

Happy Father’s Day

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